Sunday, December 9, 2012

Oscar Niemeyer ARCHITECT

Oscar Niemeyer died last week at 104 years of age. He actively practiced architecture past the age of 100, reinforcing the phenomenon that famous architects continue to work well into their later years. (I'm not sure if that is true for not-so-famous architects.) His career began in the mid-1930s, including the Brasilian pavilion for the New York World's Fair in 1939 (with Lucio Costa).

Oscar Niemeyer was instrumental in my career path. I vividly remember being aware of his spectacular work when I was about 12 years old. I wrote a homework assignment that had something to do with the president of Brasil, Juscelino Kubitschek. I don't remember anything about Kubitschek's politics or why I wrote the paper. I do remember he hired Oscar Niemeyer to design a new capitol for Brasil: Brasilia. It was carved out of the jungle in a fearlessly modern style that employed bold shapes and sensuous curves. Unlike the austere boxes of most modernists, Niemeyer was unabashedly sensuous in his approach to architecture. He likened his work to the curves of the beautiful women on Rio's Copacabana beach. He was a Brasilian modern architect, not of the prevailing "international" style. His beautiful buildings directly influenced my decision to become an architect.

1. National Congress of Brasil.

2. Museo Nacional.

3. Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasil.

4. Presidential Palace

5. Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasil. 
6. Auditorium.

7. Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasil, interior.
"I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves....
Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein."

-- Oscar Niemeyer

Even today, five decades later, Niemeyer's work in Brasilia appears fresh and modern. His more recent projects are as vigorous and inventive as his earlier ones.  Oscar Niemeyer deserves to be remembered as one of the great architects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

1. Marcelo Jorge Viera
2. Pub. Dom.
3. Victor Soares
4. Pub. Dom.
5. Joau Felipe
6. Jesus giez lago
7. Javier Gil